TJ Nightlife...If You Dare!
This is a short list of favorite nightclubs and bars provided by a younger, hipper friend of mine. None of these clubs are on Calle Revolución, Tijuana’s main tourist drag. These are places where fun-loving, young and mid-age (I won’t say “middle aged”) people go for a night on the town.
Menéalo (1470 Leona Vicario; open Fridays & Saturdays only, after 9PM) is really, really cool. It’s like stepping into an “I Love Lucy” episode. There are live bands, and lots of dancers of all levels. Tangaloo (Avenida Monterrey 3215, Fracc. Neidhart; open Thursday to Sunday only, after 8PM) offers bottle service and caters to a high-end, younger crowd.
Plaza Fiesta (Zona Río) is a conglomeration of restaurants and clubs for all ages---but mostly popular with young people. Ah Jijo, with DJs playing reggae, pop, electronic and ranchero, and Monte Picacho are the favorites. Porky’s Place is a great 80s spot. Sótano Suizo is pretty cool. It’s more relaxed than some of the others, and opens earlier---a good place to meet and talk with friends. They serve food and the style of the place is Swiss. It’s name means “Swiss Cellar.” La Cantina and Pancho Villa's have great live banda music. (“Banda” is brass-based music from Sinaloa that typically plays Mexican genres like rancheras and cumbias but also pop and rock.) And all these are within Plaza alone!
Part of the Carlos Anderson chain, Frogs (officially, Señor Frogs, at Pueblo Amigo, Zona Río, just southeast of Plaza Fiesta) is still popular, especially during bullfighting season. They offer great dinner & drink specials during that time and still appeals to all ages. Also in Pueblo Amigo is the popular Rodeo de Media Noche (open weekends only, til late!). This is a totally Mexican, nighttime hangout, the music is mostly banda. Popular bands on tour often stop here. And the live rodeo at midnight, in the back, is great fun! Dress up somewhat to visit Balak discoteque (Via Rapida Oriente 9211), a see-n-B-seen scene.
For a low-key evening of chatting and drinking micro-brewery beer rather than dancing, check out La Cantina at Cervecería de Tijuana (Blvd. Fundadores 2951, Colonia Juárez). The norm is low-volume jazz as background music and sporting events on multiple TV screens, but they sometimes offer live music or karaoke.
If you understand Spanish, a good website with lots of info on dining and nightlife in Tijuana is http://guiadetijuana.com. Have fun, and be safe!